The Icelandic Sheepdog (Icelandic Dog) is one of the rare dog breeds but is becoming increasingly popular with dog lovers looking for an intelligent, active, and affectionate companion. A breed that has almost disappeared in Iceland itself, robust, easy to train, and versatile: whether it is a dog sport, a companion dog, or an active family, the Icelandic Dog has many talents.
From the Far North
Living with nature is still taken for granted on the island of Iceland. Along with fishing, sheep and horse breeding has been the most important livelihood for many centuries. Dogs took on responsible tasks: they had to look after, watch and hunt. What different breeds were adopted in other countries was in Iceland, thanks to its remote location, in a single breed of dog.
It is believed that the Icelandic Dog was introduced by the Vikings and became a versatile working dog that lived as part of a family. In the meantime, other breeds have replaced the archetypal “Íslenskur fjárhundur” (also the Icelandic Sheepdog) in Iceland. Fortunately, the medium-sized dog is finding more and more fans around the world.
Nature of the Icelandic Dog
The Icelandic Dog is unique in its appearance and versatile nature. He is described as a German Shepherd or Spitz depending on the language and standard, which perfectly reflects his flexibility and adaptability. He loves people and develops a very close bond with his family. A patient, quiet roommate is a great playmate for kids, even if you always have to keep an eye on the little rascals.
The archetypal Icelandic Dog is highly intelligent. He is smart, thinks for himself, is exceptionally curious, and eager to learn. He shows himself to be brave, confident, and honest, not wanting to usurp the role of leader. He prefers to work with people. Whether it’s herding sheep, as a companion on long trips, in dog sports, or in scaring off rats – the Icelandic Dog is always close to fire and flame!
Raising & Keeping an Icelandic Sheepdog
The alert, active Icelandic Sheepdog is not the best choice for a city apartment. This is only possible if you travel a lot with your dog and he only stays at home to sleep. He is more comfortable in a house with a garden, where he can spend a lot of time on guard and in nature. At a young age, inquisitive dogs are very adventurous, so a stable fence is a must.
When it comes to socialization and parenting, you can match a friendly four-legged friend who is open and not afraid of new things. It may develop a noticeable hunting instinct. During training, look for a well-tethered tip and secure your young dog with a towline. The Icelandic dog requires a high level of physical and mental exercise. He can get carried away with almost everything – from dog tricks to agility.
Icelandic Dog Care
The strong, weather-resistant coat of the Icelandic Dog consists of a medium to long topcoat and a dense undercoat. The fluffy dog sheds heavily, especially during coat changes, and should be brushed daily. Outside of the shedding period, weekly brushing will help control hair loss in the home.
Features of the Icelandic Dog
Despite intense inbreeding, the Icelandic dog is considered a very strong breed with little hereditary predisposition. It is best to buy a puppy from a reputable registered breeder whose dogs have passed the necessary tests for breed approval. With good care, medium-sized Icelanders will live to be 12 years old or older.